I thought I'd better post this before the Fling and all the other races are on top of me! It's a bit of a hasty report that I posted on the club forum after the race but it does the job. I was meaning to add a bit more detail to it but ended up running loads of miles instead...
This was the first running of the Hardmoors 55 race, a counter in the Runfurther UK Ultra series. A late change to the course to avoid a few extra road crossings meant it was only 54 miles, but a tough and eventful 54 miles it turned out to be.
The route follows the first half of The 110 mile Cleveland Way in the North Yorks National Park from Helmsley to Guisborough and has about 9000 feet of ascent thrown in.
Not really knowing the route at all, I decided to stick with a local runner who set off like a rocket at a much faster pace than I felt comfortable with. This tactic seemed to be working out ok until the first main checkpoint at 22 miles when I lost sight of him and took a wrong turning, losing about 10 mins before getting back on track again. By 25 miles I was starting to really feel the effects of the faster pace and also running on the exposed moors in strong winds and driving rain was taking its toll.
I decided to ease off the pace and take it nice and steady to the next checkpoint at 42 miles then get some food in me and hammer the pace to the finish. By the time I reached the village hall at Kildale (42 miles) I needed food quickly and devoured my Tuc biscuits and coke, grabbed some fruit pastilles and headed back out determined to make up some lost places.
I ran hard up to Captain Cooks monument seeing no-one then headed for the steep climb up Roseberry Topping which was a spur off the main route so I might see some of the runners ahead of me as the route returns back on itself. Sure enough when I got to the turn the leader came through the gate closely followed by the 2nd placed runner and as I approached the top of the hill 3rd place came running down towards me. I was only a few minutes behind him and when I got back to the gate checked my watch to see I was about 18 minutes behind the first two. Time to blast to the finish I thought!
After a mile or so I caught the 3rd placed runner but he wasn't keen on giving up his place easily so we battled through the slippy, muddy track for a few minutes before I managed to lose him on the winding forest trail down to Guisborough. After what seemed an age I reached the disused railway which meant I was a mile from the finish and after glancing over my shoulder too many times to see if I was being caught I arrived at the rugby club finish and crashed through the door. Hang on! No signs of a race finish here, just guys in blazers looking at me a bit strangely! I went back outside and caught sight of a course marker further down the path so I ran towards it then saw the flags marking the finish at the CRICKET club! Ahhh yes! Well I managed to finish in 3rd place in 9 hours 11 mins so was delighted with that.
The stormy weather meant only 41 of about 75 starters finished the race, a thoroughly enjoyable route and it's got me thinking about the full 110 mile race next year...!!